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News Index

Jean Archer retires from ‘Shire’

Welcome to new Chairman

What's on in October

Shirehampton Green Spaces

Letters to the Editor

Tynings Field Allotment Grazing

Shirehampton Says Farewell to Father Ryan

What to do in the Autumn?

NSC Boxing Club

T.S. Enterprise Reunion

Shirehampton Park Junior’s Club Championship

Oasis Academy Brightstowe Results On The Up

St Mary’s News

Helen Elkington 1939 - 2010

Jean Archer retires from ‘Shire’

James Harris presents Jean Archer with a picture of Shire Green. Photo: Bob Pitchford

James Harris presents Jean Archer with a picture of Shire Green. Photo: Bob Pitchford

Having given prior notice of her intention to retire as Chair of ‘Shire’ and with a replacement found, Jean officially retired at the beginning of August and as a mark of appreciation for her contribution to the paper, she and husband Peter were invited to a get-together following our editorial meeting on 6th September. Wine and nibbles (generously donated by Marilyn Gorry) preceded the presentation to Jean of a framed print of Shire Green painted by local artist, the late John Parsons. Jean said it was a lovely reminder of the many years she had taken part in the Christmas Eve carols.

This photo appeared in the March 1977 edition of SHIRE to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the paper. L-R Philip Squire, Rev Fernley Symons, Graham Knewstub, Bob Woodward and Jean Archer (Vice Chair)

This photo appeared in the March 1977 edition of SHIRE to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the paper. L-R Philip Squire, Rev Fernley Symons, Graham Knewstub, Bob Woodward and Jean Archer (Vice Chair)

Marion Robathan writes “Jean has been associated with ‘Shire’ practically from its inception in 1972 when it was started by Rev. John Smith and a few others, as a means of communication within the village. It was given three months to make its way so that it would not need any financial support other than that obtained through the adverts ; also it would be non denominational and non political. It was a much smaller paper of course, but that it has survived and enlarged over the years is in no small measure due to the work and enthusiasm of those early pioneers including Jean. Having said that it got off the ground in 1972, early copies show that Jean was on the committee in June , Vice Chairman in 1975, becoming Chairman by 1982 in succession to Ashley Hutchings. So you see Jean is very much synonymous with ‘Shire’. During the years the production of ‘Shire’ has become more ‘professionally’ amateur, no longer is the ‘office’ a carrier bag!, no longer do we meet over a cup of tea and biscuits, and of course electronics has swept us along!

In her time Jean has been involved with getting new advertisers, finding printers willing to print us, we fall between two stools – too small for the ‘big boys’ and too big for the smaller operatives – and of course editing on a regular basis throughout, not to mention compiling 'What's On In Shire' every month for many years. ‘Shire’ has also continued to support the Art Exhibition, the Craft Exhibition and Carols on The Green and has over the last few years given grants to local causes. Without Jean’s enthusiasm, energy, personality (who could say ‘No’ to Jean?) and driving force maybe ‘Shire’ wouldn’t have the success that it enjoys.

I will give the last word to Jean: ‘The strength of ‘Shire’ is due to the many unsung volunteers, the counters and deliverers, as well as the contributors and advertisers. Without them ‘Shire’ would be nowhere’ Happy retirement from ‘Shire’ Jean you will be missed! “

Jean has presided over many changes in the paper’s production and editing process from the early days of an A4 size news-sheet which then graduated to the current tabloid style paper. Technology has been the major innovation with so much copy now received, edited and forwarded to the printer electronically. We also now have Shire on the Web which would have been beyond the wildest imagination of the early editors.

It is no mean feat to produce a community newspaper run entirely by volunteers and funded by advertising and donations from readers, with a well organised distribution network for almost 40 years and in 2007 Jean the late Brian Blandford were invited to accept a Judges Special Award of a Bristol Blue glass paperweight at the Bristol Community Newsletter Awards. There must be few if any other such papers that have survived and thrived for that length of time.

When Jean moved from Shirehampton to Portishead she could easily have severed her ties with the paper but it is a measure of her dedication and commitment that she continued to serve and this meant regular trips to Shirehampton for editorial meetings, collecting copy from the library, sorting out the What’s On section and meeting with fellow editors – often several trips a month.

At a national level the year 2012 will see us celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen, and hosting the Olympic Games. For Shire newspaper it marks 40 years of production and Jean has been a major player in that process for the majority of time. Thank you Jean for all you have contributed to the newspaper and community as a whole. We wish you a happy and well earned retirement and hope you will join us in our 40th anniversary celebrations. Editor

Welcome to new Chairman

We are delighted to announce that the new Chair of ‘Shire’ is James Harris, who was born in Barrow Hill Crescent in 1978 but grew up in Nailsea. However because James had other family members living in Shirehampton and Lawrence Weston he was a frequent visitor to the area. His favourite adventure when growing up was travelling with brother Anthony on the train with bikes from Nailsea to Shire via Temple Meads, cycling to grandparents for lunch then back the same way. James attended Bristol Grammar School then Trinity College Cambridge to study Modern and Medieval Languages which involved spending a year in Siena in Tuscany to take course in the history of Italian art and classical literature.

James then worked as a PR consultant at agencies in Cheltenham and Bristol which included producing and writing newsletters, websites, articles in the media etc. James did live in Shire again before moving to Westbury, and currently runs his own PR company as well as managing the fund raising appeal for the Tithe Barn as a member of St Mary’s staff. In 2007 James married May and they had daughter Grace on New Year’s Eve 2009.

James has been on the Administrative Council of ‘Shire’ for about a year and given his experience and qualities very soon became a valued member, willing to take on tasks and share his views. It is beneficial to the council to have younger members joining as older ones retire so fasten your seat belt James, if Jean’s experience is anything to go by you’re in it for the long haul! Editor

What's on in October

Weekly Activities:


  • KEEP FIT - Avonmouth Community Centre - 7:30-8:30pm
  • DROP IN ADVICE SERVICE - 9:30-11:00am St Andrew’s Church, Avonmouth - Sponsored by St Andrew’s Church
  • TOTSTOP - for under 5’s at St Mary’s Church - 1:15-2:45pm
  • KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB - 6:30 - 8:30pm St Bernard’s School
  • THE PULSE ACUPUNCTURE CLINIC - Every Monday at the Health Centre
  • BUMP AND RHYME for babies and toddlers - 11:20-11:40am - 12:00-12:15 Story Time in the Library
  • SEA CADETS - 12 -18 years old Monday and Thursday - 6:45-8:45pm T.S. Enterprise, Station Road
  • BOXING COACHING - Monday, Wednesday and Friday - Smelters Gym, Barracks Lane, - King George Trust Playing Field, Avonmouth - For details ring chief Coach Garry Cave: 07876-233621
  • TWYFORD ART CLUB - 9:30 - 11:30am Penpole Room, Shirehampton Public Hall
  • NORTH BRISTOL ADVICE CENTRE - 9:30am - 12:30pm Drop In Housing Office, Ridingleaze House, Ridingleaze


  • SHIRE ADVICE SERVICE - 982-9399 - 9:30 - 11:30am Drop-in session Over 50’s Shirehampton Health Centre
  • PENPOLE LUNCH CLUB - 11:30am - 2pm - 2 courses, tea/coffee, cake £3.25 - details from Sandra: 0117 938 1236
  • ST MARY’S CRAFT GROUP - 2 - 3:30pm St Mary’s Church
  • MAINLY MUSIC FOR UNDER 5s - Shirehampton Baptist Church - 9 -11am during term time - Wednesdays
  • SHIRE ADVICE SERVICE -982-9399 - 9:30 -11:30am Shirehampton Health Centre
  • NORTH BRISTOL ADVICE CENTRE - 2:00 - 5:00pm Debt Housing Office, Ridingleaze House, Ridingleaze
  • SHIREHAMPTON MODEL RAILWAY CLUB - 7:30pm in the Public Hall
  • SHIREHAMPTON CRAFT GROUP - 1:30 - 3:00pm Guide HQ, St Mary’s Road - Tel 982 3192 for information
  • ACTA COMMUNITY YOUTH THEATRE - 5:00 - 6:30pm at the Public Hall
  • KEEP FIT - Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road - 10:30 - 11:30am. For those with some movement experience.
  • AVONMOUTH HOCKEY CLUB practice night - 7:30-9:00pm Henbury Comprehensive School
  • TWYFORD ART CLUB - 9:30 -11:30am Penpole Room, Shirehampton Public Hall


  • SHIRE ADVICE SERVICE - 982-9399 - 9:30-11:30am Shirehampton Health Centre
  • ADVICE SERVICE - 2:00-3:00pm St Mary’s Church - (session sponsored by St Mary’s)
  • NORTH BRISTOL ADVICE CENTRE - 1:30 -4:30pm Benefits Housing Office, Ridingleaze House, Ridingleaze - 9:30am -12 noon Debt Only Seamills Health Centre, 2 Riverleaze, Seamills
  • STROKE SUPPORT - 1:30-4:00pm PBA Club, Nibley Road
  • KICK BOXING - 5:15-7:15pm Public Hall
  • GRAINGER PLAYERS DRAMA CLUB - 7:30-9:30 Public Hall
  • SLIMMING WORLD - 5:15pm and 7:15pm Jim O’Neill House - tel. 01275-844825 for information
  • KYOTO SHOTOKAN KARATE CLUB - 6:30-8:30pm Avonmouth RFC
  • SEA CADETS - Juniors 10-12 years old and 12-18 years old - 6:45-8:45pm T.S.Enterprise, Station Road
  • AVONMOUTH RUGBY CLUB - 6:00pm practice for Junior Colts - Ring 9852426 for details
  • TWYFORD ART CLUB - 7:00 - 9:00pm Penpole Room, Shirehampton Public Hall


  • FRIDAY FUN for parents, carers, and pre-school children - 9:30-11:00am Beachley Walk Centre
  • EVERGREENS - 2:00-3:00pm Public Hall
  • BINGO - 6:30-8:30pm Public Hall
  • PILLOW LACE GROUP - 7:00-9:00pm Public Hall
  • SHIREHAMPTON AMATEUR RADIO CLUB - 7:30-10:00pm T.S. Enterprise
  • RELISH for 11-16yr olds in term time - 7:30-9:30pm Shirehampton Baptist Church
  • KEEP FIT - 10:30-11:30am Cotsworld Community Centre - Dursley Road - Sundays
  • KIDS KLUB at St Mary’s - 8:30am most Sunday mornings - Breakfast and a short service. - Tel. 9077026 for information
  • COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE - 1ST and 3RD Sundays of the month - 1st Sunday led by Baptist Church - 3rd Sunday led by St Mary’s - Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road - 4:45 - 5:30pm

Fortnightly/Monthly Activities:


  • LOCAL HISTORY GROUP - 3rd Monday of the month - 2:30pm in the Library - 18th October next meeting


  • PBA RETIRED EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION - 3rd Tuesday of the month - PBA Club, Nibley Road - open from Noon - 19th October 2:30pm The Children’s Hospice at Wraxall - Mrs J Powell

  • AVONMOUTH LADIES CLUB - First and third Tuesdays of the month - 7:30pm St Andrew’s Church Hall


  • BRIGHT HOUR WOMEN’S FELLOWSHIP - Fortnightly - 2:30pm Shirehampton Baptist Church
  • SHIREHAMPTON STITCHERS - 3rd Wednesday of the month - 7:30pm Public Hall


  • CARERS GROUP - 3rd Thursday of the month - 2:00pm at Ridingleaze, Lawrence Weston - Saturdays
  • COFFEE AND CAKES - 1st Saturday of the month - 10:00 -11:30am - Shirehampton Methodist Church All welcome. - Sundays
  • COTSWOLD CHURCH SERVICE - 1ST and 3RD Sundays of the month - 1st Sunday led by Baptist Church - 3rd Sunday led by St Mary’s - Cotswold Community Centre, Dursley Road - 4:45 - 5:30pm
  • SHIREHAMPTON BAPTIST CHURCH - Sunday 3rd October - Harvest Festival - Sunday 14th November at 6.30pm - Evangel Male Voice Choir - Saturday 4th December at 2.30pm - Emmaus Christian Choir - followed by tea


  • PLAYGROUP at the Public Hall, Station Road - 9:15 - 11:45am Monday to Friday - 12:30 - 2:45pm Mon -Wed only
  • LOW IMPACT AEROBICS at PBA Social Club - 7:30pm - for information ring 07717833739
  • FOUR VILLAGES TOY LIBRARY - Beachley Walk Centre, Old Barrow Hill - Wednesday, Thursday, Friday morning 9:30 -12:30 - And Tuesday afternoon Ring 9822142 for details - Annual subscription £3, 50p to hire a toy
  • GIRLS FOOTBALL 8-16 - Saturdays 11:00 -12:00am St Bede’s


  • BASIC SKILLS CLASSES - Literacy Skills weekly at Lawrence Weston - Tel: 9138824 for details

English, Computers and Communication; Art and Communication; Maths. Contact Gill Lloyd on 3125530

Free short courses for adults over 19 years with few or no qualifications - e.g. Basic Computers, IT Skills for Work, CV Writing and Job Applications online, Pass Your Driving Theory Test, Confidence Building courses, Family

Learning in local schools (literacy and numeracy) etc. For more information ring Suzanne on 9030072 or Veronique on 9030065; or email or

Shirehampton Green Spaces

Caroline Penny and Jim Penny local residents, along with local councillor Siobhan Kennedy-Hall attended a demonstration on 7th September outside the Council Office in College Green, against the sale of open space and green space in Bristol.

Waving a banner with the words 'Don’t let them Shton Shirehampton' with a skull and crossbones, shouting 'Save our Open Space' and 'Don’t be mean keep it Green' Caroline and Jim joined over 50 people from other areas of the City all who are incensed by the Council's attitude to selling off land that is for public use. Once inside the meeting Councillor Gary Hopkins who is behind the parks strategy was heckled and booed as he attempted to speak. When he said 'we all value our open spaces' the crowd replied 'LEAVE THEM ALONE THEN'

Many petitions were handed in, Jim told them that the land for public use in Shirehampton belonged to the people of Shirehampton and there were also statements from other areas. The meeting had to be extended. We have a petition with 230 signatures for Woodwell road alone and Siobhan Kennedy-Hall has one with more that will be handed in shortly.

Councillor Hopkins said the strategy would be changed but not abandoned. It is a shame that more people from Shirehampton did not support this demo but please REMEMBER THE 15th of SEPTEMBER meeting at Sea Mills Rugby Club noon until 8pm. D Cole

Shire Community Grants

The committee of ‘Shire’ is once again inviting applications for Community Grants. If you belong to a local organisation with a requirement for funding either for a specific project or core funding please submit an application explaining why you need the grant and if appropriate how much. The deadline for applications is 31st October and they can be taken to the library or submitted by email to We will only have a modest amount to give away but all requests will be considered and a decision made at our November meeting.

Letters to the Editor

Memories of Bright Hour

Dear Editor,

My sister Dorothy, who lives in Alveston, sends me the ‘Shire’ each month. Reading about the Methodist church and the Ladies Bright Hour brought back many happy memories. My mother attended the Bright Hour when we moved to the village in 1939, from Sea Mills, The meeting provided rest after doing the Monday wash. Our family worshipped in the church and the cinema style seats were there in 1939. Very convenient to fold up so that one was raised higher to have a better view of events at the front of the church. There were excellent facilities at the rear of the church for the many activities available to us children. We carried on attending Sea Mills Junior School, walking home to 337 Portway for lunch each day. No school meals in those days! Very few overweight children around, the rations in the early 1940s helped to keep us in good shape. I attended, as did my three sisters, secondary school in Bristol. Then I went to do my nurses training in London at the age of 18. After I was married and had children we visited my parents who still lived on the Portway. The grandchild loved to visit Shirehampton because of the swimming pool, the golf links, Kingsweston House and Blaise Castle with its huge estate. My father was a Pill man so trips across the Avon by ferry to visit relatives were great fun. Driving across the Avon bridge is very dull in comparison. Living in Kent I do not often get to visit the scenes of my childhood. So much has changed – maybe memories are better. I do enjoy reading ‘Shire’ even though there are only places, not people I knew, written about. With every good wish for the paper’s future and Shirehampton being a good place in which to live. Am I correct in believing that Tony Webb’s business is in Joe Howe’s shop at the Green end of Park Road? I remember the live animals jumping out of the lorry which delivered them for customers’ dinners. Sincerely Ruth Dunster – nee Ellis

(Tony Webb’s business is in the actual High Street not in Joe Howe’s old shop. – Ed)

Buckle Well

Dear Editor,

Further to Caroline Penny’s fascinating article concerning the Buckle Well, the following extract from ‘Holy Wells of Bath and Bristol Region’ by Phil Quinn (Logaston Press) may be of interest.

“The well is situated beneath public allotments, with no formal public access, and was once the site of a hermitage. At one time the well was known as the Holy Well of Shirehampton and people would come and make offerings to the spring, the water of which forms a small pool which is believed to be struck only by the rays of the midsummer sun. Also reputed as a place of hidden treasure, the most enduring belief surrounding this site is that the water was good in the cure of sore eyes.”

Mr Quinn goes on to explain that a recent owner of the well, a Mr Little, who had a problem with excessive blinking as a child, was cured when his mother, on the advice of an elderly woman, bathed his eyes with water from the well. Perhaps some Shirehampton residents have memories of visiting the site and would be able to describe it and the interior of the cave. Gill and Gerry Sheppard

Grave Theft

Dear Editor

Thank you to the person or persons who helped themselves to a flower planter from my father’s grave in Shire Cemetery. Having only recently lost my father, to go to his grave and find this missing caused more distress. The planter was not of any sentimental value, it is the fact that whoever took it has stolen from the dead. I hope you enjoy using it. Yours upset – C Vale (thanks for donation – Ed

Forthcoming Events at the Costwold Community Association

Dursley Road, Shirehampton

  • Mexican Supper Evening – Saturday 9th October
  • Coffee Morning fundraising event for Hearing Dogs for the Deaf – Saturday 23rd October 10.30am
  • Quiz Night (American Supper) – Saturday 13th November

For more information contact Mike on 07785288178 (thanks for donation – Ed)

Ian McKenzie Nicolson

Shirley and her family would like to thank all neighbours and friends for all the flowers, cards and messages of sympathy on our sad loss. Our thanks also to all who attended the service and especially to Canon Christine for her kindness and support in helping with the arrangements.

Jade Harvey

Well done Jade on passing your driving test first time. Lots of love Nan, Grand-dad, Michelle and Colin

(Thank you for donation – Ed)

Children in Need Event

I am organising a charity event for Children in Need at Manor Farm on 19th November, 7pm till late. It will include a Disco, Raffle, Face painting and Auction as well as party games for the children. Admission is £100 for adults, children are free. Further details from Alison Bentley on 01179041591

Please come and support this worthwhile cause.

Tynings Field Allotment Grazing

Notice has been given to the grazing tenant of the field nearest Valerian Close to quit in December, Apparently they want the land to go back to being allotments, but we will see. Thirty seven dwellings have been planned for little Valerian Close which runs behind this field - if you think this is too many, and will cause traffic problems - go on line or write to the Planning Department as the proposal has been submitted. I am contacting the Allotments Department to see what their plans are for this field. The original plan was to sell off Lady's field as excess and put the other top field back to allotments and the allotment panel actually agreed to this last year. On the grounds that 50% of the profit from the development gets invested into the allotments, what are they having - gold plated sheds? or do these funds go elsewhere? 50% of a housing development is hundreds of thousands of pounds. Since when have allotments which more or less produce themselves been a property investment? However, if Lady's field is sold there will be one less grazing field in Shirehampton that they are not replacing and it is this problem that needs addressing as there is a waiting list for grazing fields as well as allotments and this is not being taken into consideration.

Update - The field nearest to Horseshoe bend that is currently grazed will be converted back to allotments and the grazing tenant will quit in December, it has been confirmed that new allotments will be put in this field. Behind this there are plans to redevelop the prefabs in Valerian Close building 37 new dwellings surely we don’t need more housing if this goes ahead. Caroline Penny.

Bristol in Bloom

Shirehampton has once again won 2nd place for 'Shopping Area/Street' in the Bristol in Bloom competition. Once more thanks must go to The George for its magnificent display and to Blaise Nurseries for the wonderful hanging baskets and flowerbeds on The Green. The George won a certificate in its own right.

Mr. and Mrs. Cedric Rich will be attending the awards ceremony at the Council House on 6th October, to collect the silver gilt medal on behalf of the village. Gil Osman

Shirehampton Says Farewell to Father Ryan

Father Ryan and Reenie

Father Ryan and Reenie

Vincent Joseph Ryan was born in Dublin, Ireland. He had three brothers to contend with and was brought up within a strong Catholic family. He spoke about his childhood, growing up in Dublin, school life and why he became a Priest.

"There was a lovely feel to growing up in Dublin. It was a much smaller city than it is now and I feel it was a much friendlier place back then to be quite honest. Dublin was like big rural town, it was a friendly place where everyone spoke with each other. You could move around the city and the outskirts quite freely without fear."

"School was a happy time. I can't recall any bad memories of it. We were taught Gaelic and Latin at school up to the age of 14 years or so. But you did live with ambition of leaving school and getting on with the freedom of being able to do what you wanted to do and live your life".

"Each year there were one or two days given to inviting a Mission or a Priest to talk to all the pupils about their work. One in particular was talking about the need for Priests in the foreign Missions and he spoke about the Philippine Islands. There were many people there who wanted to take the sacrament of the church but they didn't have Priests to administer them and that made me think and reflect on the possibility of becoming a Priest. I was about thirteen years old at the time."

Father Ryan left his education with a Leaving Certificate which was the equivalent of A-Level qualifications today and began his training to become a Priest. "I applied to go to the missions in England because I'd heard of a shortage of Priests there. That was in 1952 when I was about eighteen years old. So began the studies of preparation which lasted six years. That's how long it takes to become a Priest. With a mixture of study and residential experience, living in communities for quite a long time, it is perhaps one of the main foundations. It is of course a religiously based community forming in daily prayer and Mass. With studies there is two years of philosophy followed by four years of theology. The spiritual foundation comes from learning to live with others in a close community and of course reflecting on the whole vocation on what you're giving your life to. I studied in Spain, at the English College of Valladolid. You went where the Bishop told you to go. It was founded over four hundred years when Catholics weren't allowed to have seminaries in England. The training of Priests had to take place on the continent. It's a little oasis in the middle of Spain".

"After that I returned to England, in fact Bristol and was ordained at Clifton Cathedral and my first appointment was in the town of Amesbury as an Assistant Priest. Two years after that I was called back to the college to teach philosophy for four years in the seminary".

I asked Father Ryan where he went next after his teaching post came to an end? "Oh, I came back to Bristol, to the Holy Cross Church in Dean Lane, Bedminster. It's a lovely building at the heart of a thriving community at that time. I think it's changed a bit since then but I do remember the Wills Factory was a great employer and just across the road from us as well as Avonmouth Docks. I remember many people working at Avonmouth Docks who lived in the area. It was a lovely community, very close knit."

"I've worked in six parishes during my lifetime and you go where the Bishop tells you to go. It's at his discretion because he is trying to meet the needs of the Diocese. After Bedminster I was asked to become the Director of the Religious Education Centre for the Diocese that was just starting up at the time. We set up the office to help advise teachers of the content of religious teachings and I was on that task for five years. After that I was Parish Priest in Corsham, Wiltshire and then moved on as Parish Priest in Westbury-On-Trym where I worked for fourteen years".

However, before he moved to Shirehampton, Father Ryan fell ill with M.E. "I fell ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome known as M.E or giving it's full name Myalgic Encephalopathy and I became unable to do a normal days work, in fact I couldn't do any work at all, so I retired from the Sacred Heart and went back to Ireland. It was not expected that I would ever return as it is such a debilitating disease. It's more a frustrating illness rather than depressing one. You can't explain why you're more than exhausted one day and can't do things and the next day feel a bit better and be able to do something no matter how small an achievement it can be. During that time it was suggested I took up art, painting. It wasn't something I considered as I didn't see myself able to draw but I had a go and began painting what I saw in Ireland and it developed into a hobby which unfortunately I have had little time for today. I think it was the Kerry air of course that helped towards my recovery (and he laughs). Reenie, (Father Ryan's Housekeeper) was with me at the time as a caring person and watching over me. I wasn't in wheelchair but it was totally incapacitating as I had to rest most of the day and in particular I couldn't do mental work. It took five years before I was well enough to return. It still effects me a little bit today. As with anyone who has an illness, I've learned to pace myself. I recognise the signs if I'm going downhill and I've learned to say to myself 'that's it'. I don't have push that last little bit like I used to".

Father Ryan arrived in Shirehampton with his Housekeeper Reenie eleven years ago. He was impressed with the area and community and remembers a nice mixture of people, a welcoming environment, not overpowering and a very pleasant place to live in. He still finds it that way today. But I had asked if Housekeeper's are assigned to Priests as Reenie is also very much part of the Shirehampton community and is leaving the same time as Father Ryan.

"Housekeepers are not assigned to Priests. Reenie has been with me for 23 years. She was my Housekeeper when I was at Sacred Heart in Westbury-On-Trym. She responded to an advert I placed as my previous Housekeeper died from cancer. Fortunately Reenie saw the ad. Sometimes you find a Housekeeper through word of mouth in the community with somebody knowing somebody, but when I leave Reenie is moving to a residential flat attached to the parish in Corpus Christi, Weston".

I asked Father Ryan what his highlights have been living and working in Shirehampton? "Well, there are a lot of people who are willing to say hello. I suppose it's the Irish in both Reenie and myself as we are accustomed not to be walking past people and ignoring them. We often say hello and get to know people. It is sociable and a pleasant place to work. People aren't distant here. And I've been particularly impressed with the Shirehampton Forum and the ability of people to club together from all groups within this district, the churches and other organisations to positively think of what's good for the area and try to work together for it with the authorities. I've found the Forum very democratic and very good community building throughout the last ten years. I've been with it from the start and the Shirehampton Forum is something I have never ever experienced in the other areas I have worked in. Obviously I've experienced something very similar within the church but not beyond the church boundaries or civic thing, that is until now."

And what will he miss when he moves away from Shirehampton? Father Ryan starts laughing and says: "Well ... it's a big upheaval. Missing the people you've got to know over the years. I'll miss Station Road as it's a nice place to live and the fishpond in the back garden. I think I'll miss the Indian Restaurant up the road too where they serve a good meal and the general facility of being so near the shops. What I won't miss (and Father Ryan starts laughing again) is sweeping up all the leaves that fall from the trees in the autumn, the administration of buildings and finances, I won't have to worry about that any longer. I hope I don't miss Shirehampton too much but I'm sure I'll be back on the occasional visit."

It's no secret that Father Ryan is now 76 years old and leaving the Parish the end of September but do Priests ever really retire? "Well, no. If you are physically able to celebrate mass, we will do that daily, but you cannot do that without a community, without being in contact with people. In that sense you never fully retire, but it is a different way of life as you no longer have the responsibilities of the church and its administration."

And with that Father Ryan tells me about his next task. What he will be doing in the future? "From next year I'm going to live in Knock, Co. Mayo in Ireland. It is there they have a National Shrine to Our Lady. It's a place of pilgrimage and its there one can be of useful service to the Church without all that responsibility, no matter how you feel. I'll be saying Mass daily but at a time that fit's in, that is helpful with the pilgrims visiting there. I'll be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation or confession. The shrine has twenty confessional posts in a special church that's built there and they need Priests there to carry out the work. In all there are about three or four resident staff and about twelve or thirteen additional staff members working there I think."

And what about the future of St.Bernard's Church I ask? "Father Cosmos from Our Lady Of The Rosary will be taking over the pastoral care of St. Bernard's Church. He'll be celebrating Mass here every Sunday - very little will change as we've made adjustments already so that one Priest can run both churches. It's business as usual but I suppose it will be a little different in the sense that people who want to see the Priest may find he won't be as easily available as Father Cosmos will be working in both Shirehampton and Lawrence Weston parishes".

And before I left Father Ryan he added: "Although I'm leaving Shirehampton I'll be leaving with happy memories of the people both in the Church and outside the church, in the locality. It's been a happy time for me and my only wish is to have continued good health and continue with my work in the best way possible".

Father Ryan and his Housekeeper Reenie leave Shirehampton and St. Bernard's Church the end of September. I'm sure everyone in the area would like to wish them well with their future plans and continued good health and happiness in their lives.

Kathryn Courtney

Port of Bristol Pensioners Day Out

We had a lovely day out to Minehead and Dunster.  An added bonus was a steam train ride between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead.  A great day was enjoyed by all.

Mrs. M. Laver

What to do in the Autumn?

The summer is now truly over and any holidays that you were able to take are probably just a distant memory. The leaves on the trees are turning brown again, the evenings drawing in and there are no more Bank Holidays until Christmas! So the question is what are you going to do to brighten up the days between now and the New Year?

At The Baptist Church in Station Road there is always and warm welcome awaiting you at our Sunday Services and at our other activities during the week.


  • Services at 10.30 am and 6.30 pm
  • Youth group at 5.00pm


  • Glue. A group to explore Christianity (Ages 11-16) during term time 7.00pm


  • Mainly Music. For 0-5 year olds and their carers. 9.00-11.00am (term time only)
  • Church Home Groups (in various locations) 7.45pm


  • Women’s Bright Hour (fortnightly from 8th September) 2.30pm


  • Church Prayer Meeting (fortnightly from 9th September) 7.30pm
  • Occasional Men’s meeting (7.45pm)


  • Relish. An Open Youth Club (Ages 11-16) during term time 7.30-9.30pm

At our Prayer Point once a month we pray for community needs outside the church on Station Road. Please stop and share with us your concerns for your family, your friends and the village.

If you are reading this before Sunday 3rd October you have not missed our Harvest Celebration so do come and join us to thank God for all the good things that this world provides. And in November and December we have two Choirs coming to perform at the church. On Sunday November 14th the Evangel Male Voice Choir will be with us for our evening service at 6.30pm, and on Saturday December 4th the Emmaus Christian Choir will be performing at 2.30pm followed by tea. There will be no entrance charge to either of these events, but there will be an opportunity to give to The Link fund from which finance is drawn for work on refurbishment of the church buildings.

What to do in the autumn? Come and join us at Shirehampton Baptist Church!

Port of Bristol Pensioners Day Out

We had a lovely day trip to Minehead and Dunster. An added bonus was a steam train ride between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead. A great day was enjoyed by all. Mrs M Laver (thanks for donation – Ed)

Retirement of Revd Philip Auden, DL, Chaplain to Seafarers

Rev Philip Auden in Sri Lanka

Rev Philip Auden in Sri Lanka

On 30th September Philip Auden retired as the Chaplain to Seafarers based at Royal Portbury Dock. As a result he will in due course be leaving his home in Shirehampton to live at Portishead where he has a view of the channel that has formed a large part of his working life since 1999. Philip was born in Staffordshire and was ordained as an Anglican minister in Lincoln in 1976. Over the next three decades his duties took him into parish churches mainly around the Midlands, and chaplaincies in hospital and industry. However, for some years he was interested in becoming involved with the Seafarer’s Mission and was therefore delighted to be appointed as chaplain to Avonmouth in 1999. He was dropped in the deep end (!) as a new centre at Royal Portbury was being constructed and he was just in time to oversee the completion and official opening by Princess Ann in 2001.

The duties of the chaplain involve the care and welfare of seafarers. With 95% of all our consumer goods being imported it is very important to look after the crews who transport the goods and both practical and spiritual needs are responded to by the Mission to Seafarers. About 10% of the sailors are Christian, the remainder made up mainly of Hindus, Muslims or those with no religious convictions, but all are treated the same. There are no attempts to proselytise or convert to Christianity.

In 2005 after the Tsunami, Philip was invited to spend a few months in Colombo, Sri Lanka to oversee the refurbishment of a Seafarer’s Centre there as well as offering help to the families of deep sea sailors and securing educational facilities for the children following the disastrous flood.

Philip’s career as chaplain has been eventful and on one occasion in June 2009 he was the ‘victim’ of a ‘mystery worshipper’. He sailed to Lundy Island on the Waverley to take a service at the church of St Helena. However a fellow traveller was a ‘mystery worshipper’ from the Ship of Fools organisation who was to report back on all aspects of the service. Luckily Philip gained brownie points for a ‘not too long’ sermon and 10 out of 10 for content which was ‘engaging and conversational, with plenty of laughs although many serious points too.’ That’s no surprise to anyone who’s heard him preach!

When Philip moved to Shirehampton he encountered a warm welcome and friendly people so has enjoyed his time here. The presence of the chaplains in Shirehampton over the last few years links nicely to the history of the Mission which was set up by the Reverend Dr John Ashley in about 1835 when it is purported that whilst visiting Clevedon his son asked how the sailors on ships out in the channel went to church. John Ashley started a ministry to them by visiting the ships, holding services, preaching and ministering to seafarers generally. Between 1835-45 John Ashley and his family were tenants of Priory House, Shirehampton and the tithe map of that time shows that his tenancy included the tithe barn which was probably used as an office for his business, and also other land known as Great Bradley. Proceeds from his family business and sponsorship from wealthy friends enabled him to have a purpose-built mission-cutter built at Pill, fitted up with a chapel to accommodate up to 130 people. The cutter was named Eirene meaning Peace. From these small beginnings evolved the international mission that exists today depicted by a Flying Angel.

Philip fell in love with the city of Bristol and so felt very honoured and privileged when invited to become a Deputy Lord Lieutenant about three years ago. He has met remarkable people at the functions he attends as representative of Her Majesty the Queen and he will continue in this role for another ten years.

Due to a restructuring of the chaplaincy there will no longer be a chaplain based at Portbury although Philip will be available to help out in emergencies. He will also continue as chaplain of the Merchant Navy Association, news of which is often featured in ‘Shire’.

We wish Philip a long and happy (albeit busy) retirement.


Cricket is on the up at Shirehampton CC. In only their second season in the Bristol and District League (A X1 Division 2), Shire has won the league. Shirehampton have managed to maintain their position at the top of the league for most of the season, finally confirming their position as league champions on Saturday 28th August with an emphatic 10 wicket win over Whitchurch 3rds. The victory was set up by Sidra Khan who took 6 for 17 and restricted Whitchurch to 81 all out. Shirehampton opening pair of Abby Evans 35 not out and Mark Atherton 40 not out saw the team home without losing a wicket.

The season has been a fantastic success due to the depth of the squad and team spirit. Contributions have come from all involved in the Shirehampton 3rd team, including senior players, and youth team members both male and female.

Following several rained off games Shirehampton ended the season having played 12 games, winning 11 and only narrowly losing one game in the last over.

Notable performances have come from Jim Alder - taking 19 wickets and scoring 92 runs, Sidra Khan with 14 wickets, Mark Atherton 210 runs and Jake Palmer taking 9 wickets at an average of 12.89 in his first season of senior cricket. John Golder, Tom Sherlock and Abby Evans all scored in excess of 100 runs each.

As a result of the strength of the squad several players have progressed onto the second eleven and have clear first team potential for the future.

Thanks to all at Shirehampton CC, our much needed sponsors and avid fans.

Mark Atherton

Twyford Art Club

Our autumn term started on the week commencing 6th September 2010 and we would welcome new members either experienced artists or anyone who has the wish to paint and draw.

Membership fees have been reduced this year to only £5 per annum, and we meet at Shire Hall on three days a week, namely Monday & Wednesday mornings 9.30 am to 11.30 and Thursday evenings 7 to 9 pm.

Should you wish to join any of these sessions, or require further information, please phone John Case 0117 950 7916 or email

Shirehampton Public Hall Newsletter

It has been a slow progress replacing the damage done to the kitchen and the Model Railway Room, but at last the kitchen is in full use and the Model Railway Group are now back in their room.

Introducing the trustees of Shirehampton Public Hall Community Association.

The trustees are volunteers who oversee the running of the Public Hall for the benefit of the community. We meet once a month. If you would like to get involved, contact or telephone 01179829963.

The trustees have agreed to describe their commitment to the community of Shirehampton, last month it was Mary’s story, this month it will be Marilyn’s story.

Marilyn Gorry: Vice Chair of Shirehampton Public Hall Community Association.

Marilyn Gorry

Marilyn Gorry

My parents met at a dance in the Public Hall. My father Walter Curtis came from Cardiff to find work in Avonmouth. My mother Ruby Dickens lived as a child at Rudgeleigh Pill, her father Charles Dickens was a Channel Pilot.

My parents married in 1938 and bought their new house in Nibley Road, Shirehampton where I was born in January 1941 as was my brother Anthony (Tony) Curtis, in September 1942. I lived in Nibley Road until I married. Both my parents have passed away and I am so happy that my eldest nephew Dean bought the house I called home for many years is still in the Curtis family.

I attended Shirehampton Infants and junior school and then on to Portway Girls. From school until I married I worked as a receptionist, For the past 27 years I have worked in Libraries, many of them in Shirehampton.

I have 2 children from my marriage to Terrence Purnell, Deborah aged 47 and James aged 45. I married again 1979 to Peter Gorry (a Shirehampton boy) and we have a daughter Natasha who is 30.

I have 9 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.

I live in Coombe Dingle.

My hobbies are collecting books and paintings of local interest and I enjoy going to the theatre.

I am currently involved in SCAF and the ‘ Shire’ paper, I attend St.Mary’s Church and this year I joined the Fund Raising Committee for the Tithe Barn Appeal.

I have been a committee member of the Public Hall for over 20 years and have been Vice Chair for 2 years.

NSC Boxing Club

Shirehampton based boxing club The National Smelting CH are hoping for a flying start to new boxing season when they host their first home show on Thursday the 7th of Oct at Pill Memorial Club, doors open at 7pm, boxing from 8:00pm sharp. Head Coach Garry Cave says “To say we’re all excited to be boxing again is an understatement. We’re quietly hoping for our best season yet. We’re lucky to have an ever growing squad of talented young boxers”. The show billed as ‘Octane’ will see five new boxers all making their debut for the Smelters in Tommy Dolan, Ben Harvey, Ben Smyth, Cameron Lusted and Senior Light Heavy Matt Nickerson.

Added Cave “We have a class line up of bouts featuring some mouth watering matches on this 16 bout bill, Western Counties Flyweight Champion Jerry Connors is in what promises to be a storming bout against Paul Roberts of Chard ABC”. Featherweight prospect Tyler Davies and James Shackell are up against Joe Simpson and Ross Dan of the Pilgrims club in Plymouth. Topping the bill will be Light Welterweight Midlands Champion Reece Godfrey-Sharp versus Kerry Jenkins of Cwmgors ABC from Wales. In supporting bouts highly experienced Lightweight Tom Connors faces Sam Baker also from Cwmgors ABC, Senior Light Welterweight Sam Smyth takes on Conail Gallagher of Tewkesbury and Ted Philips boxes Harry Edwards of Devizes.

Tickets are £10 over 18s and £5 under 18’s and are available from Pill Memorial Club on 01275 372176 or at the Smelter Gym, a limited number will be available on the night.

The NSC ABC train at The Smelters Gym, Barracks Lane, next to Avonmouth Rugby Club, BS11 9NG. Training is every Monday, Wednesday & Friday nights 7:00-8:30pm, for further info contact NSC Head Coach Garry Cave on 07876 233621 or visit the gym on any training night.

T.S. Enterprise Reunion

All was Shipshape and Bristol Fashion at TS Enterprise's Cadet 150 and 100th Anniversary Reunion

Last month saw Bristol Avonmouth Sea Cadet unit hold a reunion for all former shipmates and a family fun day.

Members of the current ship's company with former shipmates

Members of the current ship's company with former shipmates

A selection of the unit's boats were on display as well as activities based upon the subjects taught to our cadets. The most popular for children seemed to be the ‘make your own Union Jack’ and the adults liked trying to strike the ship's bell to mark the time. We even unearthed a 1950s training manual for comparison. Many old shipmates were surprised at the breadth of activities open to today's cadets compared to their day. The Commanding Officer, Lt (SCC) Barbara Hillier RNR said "These events are important to us in many ways. We are proud of our long history and are always keen to enrich ourselves and our cadets with the memories of those who have been before us. The cadets enjoy showing off their skills and gain confidence by talking to members of the public and of course, as an independent local charity, events like this are a much needed source of funds."

Throughout the afternoon two of the unit's three display teams performed. The senior cadets demonstrated their Piling of the Drums routine while the juniors showed a Club and Cutlass routine. Both of these displays have their origins way back in time. Piled drums have been used as a makeshift altar on the field of battle for centuries and the cutlass routine was originally a method of keeping sailors fit and supple in the days before gymnasia on ships.

The afternoon had a real village fete feel with raffles, tombola, coconut shy and a bouncy castle. Unit Chairman Pat Homer said 'In total just over £550 was raised towards the much needed re-wiring of the main teaching block (Main Deck) which will cost about £7000. We would like to offer many thanks to all our guests' generosity.'

The compere for the day, Petty Officer Batt commented "Thank you also to our former shipmates that attended for the photographs, documents and memories . Some of the pictures and memories will be added to our website ( over the next few weeks. We had representatives of the ship's company from every decade from the 1940s to the present day. So a great deal was learned about the unit's history and filling in some blanks."

It is hoped that a reunion event will become a regular fixture in the social calendar especially as we head towards the Diamond Jubilee of the commissioning of TS Enterprise in 3 years time.

There are five different Cadet organisations in the United Kingdom which are available to young people. These are the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, Air Training Corps, Combined Cadet Force and the Sea Scouts. All of these organisations provide a structure by which young people can learn leadership, responsibility, adaptability, as well as many other qualities within a uniformed and disciplined environment.

Ship's Company 1943 - the original ship's company in '43 when based at Sea Mills. The officer front 2nd from left was the first CO (Lt Wookey RNVR) and commander of the Sea Mills Signal Station

Ship's Company 1943 - the original ship's company in '43 when based at Sea Mills. The officer front 2nd from left was the first CO (Lt Wookey RNVR) and commander of the Sea Mills Signal Station

2010 marks the official 150th anniversary of the Cadet movement. The Sea Cadets were formed in the 1850s to provide a career for the sons of sailors following heavy losses in the Crimean War. The Sea Cadets UK work independently of, but in partnership with the Royal Navy and receive corporate support from commercial shipping companies and the Maritime sector. Each unit is however, also an independent charity that relies upon the continued support of the local community.

The Cadet 150 Chinese Balloon Race

September also saw the Cadet 150 Chinese Balloon Race. A total of 48 sponsored Chinese hot air balloons were released from TS Enterprise to raise funds for the unit. The commanding officer said 'Thank you to all those who sponsored one and we wish you the best of luck! We had great fun launching them all even if a few were reluctant to leave us at first! It was a real team effort between cadets, staff and some of our guests". The winning balloon will be announced on the unit's website (or call the unit for the winners) shortly after 4th October.

Shirehampton Park Junior’s Club Championship

On Friday 13th August Shirehampton Park Golf Club held their annual Junior Club Championship and also our Mini Club Championship for our younger juniors and juniors that are new to golf but hold a current club handicap.

The Junior Club Championship competition is held over two eighteen hole rounds played consecutively in the same day, so at 8.30am on a coldish morning the boys who had entered set off for their first round of what was to be a tough competition.

The Mini Club Championship is a competition made up of two 9 hole rounds also played consecutively and so at 10.30am the girls and boys whose ages ranged from ten to fifteen took to the fairways for their first round.

After some great golf from all those who participated the groups of youngsters started to come in from their first round for a quick break, refreshments and some cheesy chips! The leaders at the halfway stage were Liam Bennett in a shock result holding off a challenge from Jack Millar and pre tournament favourite and Junior Club captain Ryan Hawkins. Ruby Cecil who was last year’s Mini Club Champion was once again leading at the halfway stage of the Minis respective competition.

By 13.00 all the juniors were refreshed and back ready to tee off for their second rounds. In an afternoon that saw lots of twists and turns, some fantastic golf, great sportsmanship and lots of smiles and laughter the juniors made their way around the course and back towards the clubhouse and by 16.30 everyone was back in and the scores were being added up. After a little while we were ready to announonce the winners for the day and present the trophies. After a tremendous second round Junior Club Captain Ryan Hawkins had managed to pull back a big deficit at the halfway stage to win and was crowned Junior Championship Gross champion with Jack Millar in second place with Liam Bennett winning the junior’s Nett Championship trophy closely followed again by Jack Millar. The winner of the Mini Club Championship for the second consecutive year was Ruby Cecil who once again produced two great scores over the two rounds and narrowly beat Rebecca James to take first place.

Left to right: Liam Bennett, Ryan Hawkins and Ruby Cecil

Left to right: Liam Bennett, Ryan Hawkins and Ruby Cecil

At this point I would like to say a big thank you to Pam Cecil and Sylvia Mills for the great support, effort and help during the day with the juniors, to all the juniors who participated and made the day a success and also to Steve Yorke for his kind donation to the junior prize fund.

We now get ready to hold our next big junior event which is the Shirehampton Park Junior Open which is open to all junior golfers with handicaps across the West Country and is held on Friday October 29th.

The junior section at Shirehampton Park is starting to go from strength to strength with some really talented golfers now starting to come through the ranks. If you are interested in finding out more about some of the great deals we now offer Junior golfers which include regular competitions, free weekly held club nights, free regular coaching with our Head Pro and guidance and help in obtaining a junior club handicap then please feel free to contact us Karen Rix or Jason Bennett at Shirehampton Golf Club on 0117 9822083

Neighbourhood Partnership Meets

The Kingsweston and Avonmouth Neighbourhood Partnership, which includes Shirehampton, held its quarterly meeting on September 9th. The Neighbourhood Partnerships are designed to give local people an opportunity to influence council policy on matters of concern to them. At this meeting we received reports from Parks and Estates on Grounds Maintenance, from Waste and Street Scene on street cleaning and recycling, and from the Clean and Green Project.

These reports gave information about the Council’s arrangements in each of these areas. For example, we were given maps indicating the frequency of street cleaning in each neighbourhood, and the frequency of reports from local people of excessive litter, fly tipping, graffiti and so on. The council officers were able to explain their procedures and to give some insight into the constraints, both physical and financial, under which they must work.

The Partnership has set up an environmental subgroup of local representatives who will take the lead on influencing arrangements for street cleansing, recycling bring banks, parks and grounds maintenance, and Clean and Green projects in our area. A representative from Shire Greens has joined this group, but the group would welcome interest from members of the public. Councillors were quick to stress the importance of local participation. RS

Neighbourhood Partnership meetings are open to the public, but decisions are taken by the Councillors and local representatives. In Shirehampton SCAF, the Shirehampton Community Action Forum, which is also open to the public, serves as our local Neighbourhood Forum where any member of the community can raise issues of concern to them and ask their representatives to take these forward to the Neighbourhood Partnership.

Local MP and CAMRA appeal to community to help save the Lamplighters Pub

Local MP, Charlotte Leslie, has joined forces with the Bristol and District Branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) to step up the campaign to save the Lamplighters and ensure that it remains a community pub for future generations.

Together with Peter Bridle, from the Bristol and District Branch of CAMRA, Charlotte has written to Enterprise Inns, who own the Lamplighters Pub, to ask that it be saved for the local community, and has met with representatives from Enterprise Inns to discuss how this might be done.

Charlotte also raised the concerns of many residents that the pub is increasingly becoming victim to vandalism with Enterprise Inns and secured a pledge that security on the site would be increased.

Commenting on the pub’s plight Bristol & District CAMRA Pubs Campaigning Group Chairman Peter Bridle said: “The Lamplighters is no ordinary pub, it has massive potential. It is set in a fantastic location on the riverside within a minute’s walk of the railway station and a park and ride bus service. The pub has extensive premises located over three storeys, a car park and a fantastic garden. I have no doubt that the pub can be a very successful and viable business serving the local community. The local area is not blessed with many pubs and the Lamplighters has the capacity to cater for the whole community including families. "

CAMRA are appealing to Enterprise Inns to ensure that they either reopen the place themselves or offer it at a realistic price to a third party who will ensure that it remains as a community pub.

Local Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie said: “It would be a tragedy if the Lamplighters shut for good. It is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with the vision and investment to make it happen – with its stunning location, excellent access and fantastic community support, there is no reason why it could not become one of Bristol’s best known, and best loved pubs. I will be doing all I can with CAMRA to try to ensure that the Lamplighters lives up to its name to be a ‘beacon’ of pubs in Bristol.”

Bristol & District CAMRA Pubs Campaigning Group along with Charlotte Leslie are also contacting local businesses and others to see if there is interest in setting up a consortium to run the pub.

New play area at Lamplighters Field. Photo: Bob Pitchford

New play area at Lamplighters Field. Photo: Bob Pitchford

If you are interested in getting involved with saving the Lamplighters Pub in any way, whether your background is in pubs, business, construction and renovation, catering or other, please contact Charlotte Leslie - email or tel: 0117 9628825. You can also sign the petition online at .

If you would like to help gather petition signatures on paper, get in touch with Charlotte Leslie at the contact details above.

Oasis Academy Brightstowe Results On The Up

In its second year as an independent Academy, Oasis Academy Brightstowe has seen a significant increase in the number of students achieving 5 A*-C grades including English and mathematics.

This year, 29% of students succeeded in securing the top grades, representing an improvement of one third on 2009, and bringing the Academy virtually in line with the Government’s floor target of 30%.

72% of Year 11 gained 5 or more GCSEs at C grade or above, compared to 58% last year, with every student securing at least one A* - C grade qualification.

Results in the Academy’s specialist subjects of mathematics and ICT were also up on last year, with mathematics grades exceeding baseline predictions by significant margins, and over three-quarters of students securing ICT qualifications.

There were many individual success stories, with 20% of students achieving 10 or more GCSEs at grades A* - C.

Jess Griffiths from Shirehampton attained 14 GCSEs overall, including an impressive 6 A*s. She said: “I’m really happy with the grades I received. I was very nervous in the lead up to results day, but it’s all been worth it. I want to study a career in law, so today has brought me a step closer to that.”

16 year-old John Thorne secured 14 GCSEs, including an A* in mathematics, one of the Academy‘s specialist subjects. Earlier in the year, he won the ‘Greatest Improvement in Learning’ award from Academy sponsor Oasis Community Learning for his commitment to the subject.

Former Principal Julie Winterman said: “We are absolutely delighted with this year’s results and want to really congratulate the students on their fantastic achievements.

“These results show a marked improvement on previous years and confirm that Oasis Academy Brightstowe is making significant progress. It is our aim to provide a good school for the local community, and so these results are very encouraging.

“This year’s success is a credit to all the students and staff who have worked so hard to drive up standards and achieve some extremely challenging targets.

“In September, the Academy will move onto the next stage of its journey when new Principal Mr Butler takes over the reins to drive the school towards further improvement.

“I wish him and the Academy community every success, and am sure we will be hearing great things from Brightstowe in the years to come.”

Steve Chalke, Founder and CEO of Oasis Community Learning, said: “Oasis Academy Brightstowe has achieved a great set of results this year, which reflect all the hard work and commitment put in by the students and staff since September 2008.

“The Academy is now improving steadily year-on-year and all the signs indicate that this will continue. There is a bright future ahead and the Academy has everything to play for. In September, new Principal Matthew Butler will be taking on a much changed school with a very promising outlook, and we have high hopes for the next academic year.”

This summer’s improvement in results follows a promising Ofsted monitoring visit in June, when the Academy was found to be ‘making good progress towards raising attainment’.

In their first visit to the Academy since it opened in September 2008, inspectors found that Oasis Academy Brightstowe had a strong focus on learning, and high expectations in terms of student achievement and behaviour.

Bradley House Summer Fair

On Saturday 21st August the fourth annual Summer Fair took place in the gardens of Bradley House, as a fund raising event for St Mary’s Church Shirehampton charities and raised £354.79.

Despite the weather, which was very unpredictable, and after two short showers ended up in a storm in the evening, quite a lot of visitors enjoyed the various attractions which, as usual, included a well supplied bric-a-brac stall, home-made cakes, hot and cold drinks, Lucky Dip, Little Ducks, Pick and Mix sweets and this year a favourite with the children, an animal corner brought in by Noah’s Ark.

The very good prizes raffle was also a success and all the prizes unclaimed on the day have now been collected.

We want to express warmest thanks to our local generous donors: Tubs of WB Butchers who donated the BBQ burgers and sausages, Andrew Pinn Optometrist, Pet Shop Station Road, Stadon Pet Shop, Flower World, Pauline Hair Dresser, Jupe Hair Dresser, PJ’s Hair Dresser, Elite Hair and Beauty, Nails etc, D&P Fashion Shop, Nightingale Electrics, Autoparts, Co-op/Somerfield, Choice Carpets, Corner News Agent, Card Shop and Boots Eastgate. Thanks also to all the residents, families and friends, all the members of staff for their help, support, efforts and hard work which have, once again, contributed to make the Summer Fair at Bradley House a big success.

Drug Dealer Sentenced

A Bristol drug dealer has been sentenced to seven and a half years after a complex investigation by members of Avon and Somerset Constabulary's Atrium team.

Jason Barnett, 35, of Richmond Terrace, Avonmouth pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, possessing a firearm without a certificate and possessing prohibited ammunition. He was sentenced today at Gloucester Crown Court.

This investigation, Operation Myrtle, was a reactive response to a domestic incident. Items recovered during the initial stages of this incident caused officers present to suspect that Barnett was connected to criminality involving drugs and firearms. After a search of his home a loaded Winchester pump action rifle and a large amount of lethal hollow point, expanding ammunition was discovered.

The weapon was recovered from a heavily concealed hide in the cab of a van and was found by a highly trained search team along with £7,000 in cash.

Atrium officers also recovered 17.3 kilos of sophisticated cutting agents such as Benzocaine, Caffeine and Mannitol which it is believed would have been used to cut with Class 'A' drugs prior to distribution in the Avon and Somerset area. This amount of cutting agent would require about three Kilos of imported cocaine to provide a product that would satisfy user demand at street level. The value of the cut cocaine would be in the region of £800,000.00.

During the investigation fingerprint evidence was obtained from a box in which car keys were stored, DNA evidence was recovered from a holdall and a cigarette and handwriting evidence was obtained from letters written by Barnett.

Evidence was also obtained from the money seized. Uniquely it was requested that the money be checked for contamination not only of Class 'A' drugs but also for the cutting agents that were recovered in such large quantities. The results that came back showed that some of the money was contaminated four times greater by caffeine than money in general circulation.

Inspector Steve Coghlan said: "Today's conviction was due to good policing supported by science. We are pleased that this weapon and ammunition has been taken off the streets and that another offender has been brought to justice. "We are delighted the courts, through the sentencing of Barnett share the view of the police and vast majority of the public of the abhorrence of this type of criminality."

Anyone with any information on drugs or associated crime in their area is asked to contact police on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via We never ask for your name or trace your call. For more information on the Atrium Initiative or to provide us with information on drug related crime in the area securely and in confidence visit the dedicated atrium section on the site at

Azzel Gardiner 18th Celebration

Azzel celebrated her 18th birthday in August and decided she wanted to do something different. She opted to do a Sky Dive for charity, choosing CLIC as her elder sister had cancer when aged 5 and spent a long time both in hospital and home care before fully recovering.

On Saturday 29th August Azzy did a Tandem Dive from 10,000ft at a Sky Dive Centre outside Swindon. All the family are so proud not only for the achievement but also for her motive. Many thanks are extended to relatives, friends and workmates who generously sponsored the day. (thanks for donation – Ed)

Shirehampton Group Practice Patients – Flu Vaccinations

This year’s seasonal ‘flu vaccination sessions for eligible patients will be held:

At Shirehampton Health Centre:

  • Saturday 9th October - 8.45am – 10.30am
  • Saturday 30th October - 8.45am – 10.30am

At our Branch Surgery, Capel Road, Lawrence Weston:

  • Friday 15th October - 2.00pm – 3.00pm
  • Friday 29th October - 2.00pm – 3.00pm

As last year, those who will be 65 years old by 31st March 2011 will not receive a letter of invitation but are entitled to just turn up at any of the sessions to receive their NHS ‘flu vaccination. Those who have a ‘flu vaccination for clinical reasons (e.g. they have chronic heart disease, diabetes, etc) will have received an invitation and can also attend any of the sessions. This year pregnant women who have not previously received the swine flu vaccination are also eligible for the seasonal flu vaccination. Housebound patients should telephone reception and ask to be added to our list of home visits to ensure they do not miss out. Patients who live in residential homes will have an organised visit by one of our Practice Nurses to administer their vaccinations. Registered carers are also entitled to an NHS ‘flu vaccination.

It is VERY important that you receive this annual protection – it has been proven to be most effective in reducing the instances of ‘flu, particularly for the more vulnerable in our communities. Please note that this year the seasonal flu vaccines also include protection against the swine flu virus.

Not eligible for an NHS ‘flu vaccination? Private vaccinations are provided at local venues, including Shirehampton, through GPCare for only £20. Appointments can be made by telephone on 0845 4682104.

The following is a response to Pat Squires, our local poet(ess) who some time ago wrote a poem in support of her sister’s battle with the dreaded moth. It seems that our paths lead to different areas of Shire and not destined to cross so I must communicate through the ‘facebook’ page of the Shire. Hope this meets with your approval Pat.

Moth abuse – the sequel

I read of the Moth, and their years of abuse
I couldn’t believe it, there is no excuse.
I set up a meeting, to help with Pat’s sister
But when I attended, I found I had missed her.
I finally met her, she told me her story
A terrible tale, in fact it was gory.
I couldn’t believe that her home had been wrecked,
And the damage was caused by a flying insect.
I tried to placate her, but fears still exist
I said ‘try some mothballs’, she did but she missed.
She’d tried beating them off with her ‘holey’ umbrella,
But this only added to her final dilemma.
I couldn’t believe she’d committed a crime
And told by the judge, she had to ‘do time’.
They said she was cruel and must go to jail
A wicked offence, so couldn’t get bail.
She turned to the church, and a man of the cloth
Who used exorcism to banish the moth.
The ‘spell’ did her good, now she’s happy and sprite
And dresses quite smartly, no moth-holes in sight.

David J Fisher

St Mary’s News

Hi Folks!

I can scarcely believe that here I am writing these Notes for October as another year rapidly goes by. Here we are now experiencing chilly mornings and the dew on the grass and later on this month the clocks "go back" and once more we are plunged back into dark evenings again. Already the shops are selling Christmas Puddings and Mince Pies and I will soon be another 12 months older and I don't like it one bit! But dwell ye not upon such things as I have news for you about the goings on at St. Mary's.

First of all I have been asked to remind you of our 10.00 am Holy Communion/Pets Service on Sunday, 3rd. October when the Venerable Alan Hawker - Archdeacon of Malmesbury will be preaching to us, Also in addition to the proposed Horse or Pony attending I hear on the grapevine that there will also be a mystery animal if all goes to plan. I have been sworn not to reveal or give any clue as to what this animal might be - so you will have to come to the Service to find out!

The Annual Parish Weekend to Glastonbury will this year be taking place from Friday 8th. until Sunday 10th. October and will be led by the Rev. Canon Neville Boundy - an old friend of St. Mary's - or should I say a longstanding friend as Neville may not be enamoured by the word 'old'!! Although Canon Christine will be at Glastonbury there will still be the usual 10.00 am Holy Communion at St. Mary's, which will be taken by the Rev. Karen Jones - who is the Part-time Chaplain to the University of the West of England. We welcome her and thank her for filling in at this Service.

On Thursday, 14th. October, we are holding another Beetle Drive with Lunch provided as in the past. Please sign up on the list at the west end of the church if you intend coming as this will assist Gill Sawyer with the numbers for catering. There is no charge for lunch but a retiring collection will taken as usual to help defray expenses. Put this date in your Diary - it is always good fun as there are some very keen players.

On Friday, 15th. October our local Member of Parliament - Charlotte Leslie - will be holding her Surgery at St. Mary's, so if you have any pressing issues you feel she should know about, here is the opportunity to mention it to her. I am sure she will welcome and try to resolve any problems or points you may have to share with her.

Also our Local Councillor - Doug Naysmith - holds a Surgery in St. Mary's on the first Wednesday of every month - his first one was back in September. Again here is someone keen to hear and learn of local issues some of which are of concern to us all.

On Saturday, 16th. October from 10.00 am until 12.00 noon, in St. Mary's, we will be holding our Christmas Gift Fayre. Here you will have the opportunity to purchase beautiful handmade crafts by our Craft Group, Cards. Paper, Decorations and Gifts. Please note this is NOT the Fayre when you can purchase Christmas Food and Produce. I am afraid you will have to wait just a little while longer for this one - so watch out for details next month. I don't know - you are being spoilt - two Christmas Fayres in two months!!! And not only that - on the evening of Saturday, 16th. October the Avon & Somerset Police Choir will be giving a Concert in St. Mary's and Tickets for this function are £7 which include Wine & Nibbles. I shall definitely be there, as I am required to do so as the Volunteer Fire Officer when we have larger public functions in the Church building. I shall no doubt take the opportunity during the interval to meet up with some of my retired colleagues who are members of the Choir.

On Sunday, 17th. October there will be a number of Baptisms at our 10.00 am Holy Communion Service and is also the day when we admit young children, who have undergone a period of instruction, to Communion before Confirmation. It is to be hoped that they will go on to be confirmed by the Bishop when they older. Please come and give them your support - this is an important step for all of them!

Back in August, Bradley House Residential Home opened their doors and rear garden to hold a Summer Fayre on behalf of the work done at St. Mary's. This was great fun with a Raffle, Tombola and Stalls together with a Barbecue. I was fortunate in winning several prizes and enjoyed a very tasty Beefburger - something I haven't tasted for ages - I'm still dribbling just talking about it. The weather was not too unkind - we had a few light showers but it didn't stop the fun and enjoyment. Our grateful thanks go the the proprietors of Bradley House - Elizabeth and Monique - for allowing such a function to take place which raised the sum of £353.79p. Thank you once again - can we persuade you to do it all again in 2011?

Also back in August we had a Bric-a-Brac Sale in St Mary's and we were more than surprised to find it raised the sum of £730 - this was much more than we anticipated we would make. Thank you to all who came and made purchases - without your support we wouldn't have enjoyed such success.

On our Car Treasure Hunt we had a splendid evening once again thanks to Tim Forder who worked out the route. During the early part of the "hunt" we unfortunately ran into heavy traffic because it was when the Balloon Fiesta was in progress. Nevertheless, it didn't spoil our fun and we ended up at a Pub at Polsham, which is between Wells and Glastonbury. The winning car was crewed by Roger & Mary Derrick and Sandra & David Neate. Congratulations to you all - you are a difficult team to beat!! Anyway, whether you were winners or not the Pub provided some excellent food and a quick service - a really first class social event! I hope I am alive and kicking for the next one in 2011!!

During September we came to the end of our "Open Gardens Season" and yes, I did open mine too on a lovely sunny evening, although it began to get a little bit chilly around 8.30 pm when some of us adjourned inside the house. Overall we have had a very successful season together with the Open Church Days on the Bank Holidays, to which we thank Gill Sawyer for cooking the food. I can't give you the total figure we raised throughout the Open Gardens Season, but I wish also to thank all of you who did open your gardens for us to see - it certainly was financially worthwhile.

I am sure many of you will be aware of the "Requiem Candles" which stand on the Sanctuary Steps and are also placed either side of the Coffin at Funeral Services. These were given to St. Mary's by the late Rev. Anthony Wheeler to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of his Ordination as Priest. This fact has now been recorded on a brass plaque which is attached to the underside of one of the candles. Tony was very generous in his gifts to St. Mary's and it is right that his gift of the Requiem Candles should be recorded for future generations to see and know. We thank Dick Helme for attaching the plaque for us.

On Sunday, 5th. September we welcomed Students from the Trinity Cohort - both old and new - to our 10.00 am Holy Communion Service at St. Mary's after their Summer break. It was a good opportunity to meet them all. The new students will also be visiting St. Peters, Lawrence Weston and St. Andrews, Avonmouth, where they will decide on their preferences as to which Parish Church they would like to be attached. We await with interest to see who may be attached to St. Mary's.

Well, that's it once again for this month - but did you hear about the little girl who had been to Sunday School for the first time and was asked by her Mother how it compared with the day school? "Oh, I like it much better", she said. "There are no exams there, and at the end you go to heaven instead of going on to Secondary School". What does that tell you about Higher Education????

'Bye for now - C.M.E.


We apologise to Aileen Walsh and family for omitting to include the name of her father Allan Walsh (also known as Alec) in the St Mary’s Registers published in the September issue. His funeral was held at St Mary’s on 2nd July 2010. (thanks for donation – Ed)

Shirehampton Methodist Church Harvest Festival

Sunday 17th October at 11.00am with Rev Dr Jacky Quarmy

12 noon Harvest Lunch. A warm invitation is extended to all.

From The Registers at St. Mary's

August 2010

BAPTISMS “We welcome you”

  • August 15th - Chelsea & Madison Cordery, Lola-Mae Lloyd, Nicolas Moxham, Ruby-Joy Pentland
  • August 29th - Ryan Hill, Finley Pearson, Alfie Vowles

WEDDINGS “All that I am I give to you”

  • 14th - Marc Terry & Shelly McLean
  • 21st - Robert Lake & Natalie Parrington
  • 29th - Kelvyn Ferris & Sheridan Brown

FUNERALS “At rest and at peace”

  • 2nd - Gary Williams
  • 12th - Alice Lock
  • 19th - Kenneth Churchill, Ian Churchill
  • 23rd - Horace Harris
  • 26th - Andrew Stevens
  • 27th - Ivy Webber

Want to Learn to Dance? Want to spend some quality family time?

Well there are new things at St Mary’s this Autumn.

STOMP - hip-hop, freestyle and contemporary dance classes on Mondays 4.30pm-5.30pm for Key Stage 2 aged pupils (school years 3 - 6) and 6.00pm-7.00pm for Key Stage 3 aged pupils (school years 7-9).

Messy Church - 3rd Thursday of each month 3.30pm-5.30pm - a time for families - children of all ages accompanied by an adult per family - with crafts, activities, worship and refreshments. A chance for everyone to learn more about the Christian faith and the bible through practical ways.

We also have other things on offer for children and young people …..

Totstop@stm - Mondays 1.15pm-2.45pm - a relaxed and creative place for preschool aged children and parents and carers. Lots of toys, craft activity, singing and ‘drinks time’.

‘Girls Only’ - groups for girls - Tuesdays 4.00pm-5.30pm for 11-15 year olds and Wednesdays 4.00pm-5.30pm for 9-11 year olds. Activities and tea chosen by the girls.

There is no charge for any of these groups.

Want to know more? Pop into the church office or come to one of the sessions and ask.

Lawrence Weston Community Farm

Lawrence Weston Community Farm is one of four city farms in Bristol. It is situated on the edge of a large estate in the north of the city. The farm was started by a group of enthusiastic local residents in 1986, on the site of a former Bristol City Council tip. The site was landscaped with new top soil and footpaths, animal housing and livestock were introduced. For a number of years the animals lived in wooden sheds and a caravan kept all the willing volunteers dry on rainy days. The farm became a registered charity in May 1995.

Photo: Bob Pitchford

Photo: Bob Pitchford

The People's Building was completed in August 1999 and the Animal House, dedicated to Margaret Wilcox, one of the founders of the farm, was also completed in 1999. There have been many challenges facing the farm with the worst incident occurring during the foot and mouth crisis in 2001, when a suspected outbreak that was later proved to be incorrect resulted in the culling of all the livestock. The hardy volunteers and staff at the time, although devastated by the loss of much loved animals, put their Welly boots on, got stuck in and carried on. Donations from local people and far and wide enabled a team of fantastically dedicated volunteers and management committee members to ensure the continued development of the farm.

Photo: Bob Pitchford

Photo: Bob Pitchford

Horse Attacked at Disabled Riding Centre in Lawrence Weston

Olly the horse was in a field with other horses when he was attacked. A horse has been attacked for the second time at a Disabled Riding Centre in Bristol.

The animal was targeted most recently on 22 August at the Avon Riding Centre for the Disabled.

The attack took place between 0830 and 0915 BST when the 31-year-old Appaloosa gelding was in a field with other horses. The first incident happened during the night on the weekend of 3 and 4 July.

Kevin Hateley, from the riding centre in Henbury, said the first attack was more serious and the horse, known as Olly, suffered bad internal injuries. He said: "This attack is beyond my comprehension. Everybody here is very angry and upset. Olly does a wonderful job with our riders and is such a popular horse."

Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

Craft Exhibition Reminder – 26th to 30th October.

If you are planning to exhibit crafts, and/or are willing to help with stewarding but have not yet sent in the form from the September issue of ‘Shire’, please do so as soon as possible and by 18th October latest. A new departure this year is a craft workshop for children, to be held on Wednesday 27th October, but again the form needs to be completed and sent in either to the library or 28 Meadow Grove, Shirehampton. We look forward to seeing many visitors, so please put the dates in your diaries.

Helen Elkington 1939 - 2010

Helen pictured with swimming ace Mark Foster

Helen pictured with swimming ace Mark Foster

Helen Janet Elkington who died earlier this year ago was born in Shirehampton shortly before the outbreak of World War II, and lived here on the Portway throughout her childhood attending first Sea Mills Primary School and then Clifton High School. Having learned to swim in 1947 she became a member of the Portwell Swimming Club, and then of the Bristol City Swimming Club, both at Shirehampton baths and under the legendary coach, Ken Lyons. It was of the latter club that Helen was herself to become coach in the 1960’s.

Helen was determined to teach, and following training at Coventry College of Education was appointed first as P.E. teacher at Bedminster Down School, but was shortly to be made one of the new Coaches or Technical Officers to the Amateur Swimming Association – a post which gave her the opportunity to teach children and adults all over the country. In 1964 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship which enabled her to travel around the world lecturing on the sport and visiting swimming coaches in other countries, and in 1968 she was appointed coach to the Great Britain Swimming Team at the Olympic Games in Mexico. (Incidentally Helen was the second Olympian to come from Shirehampton – the first being Grace Woods who lived next door to the Shirehampton Baths and who won a Bronze Medal at the 1948 Olympics in London, and with whom Helen kept in touch.)

National Swimming Appointments in Scotland followed, and Helen became one of the leading exponents of Synchronised Swimming in Britain, and was inducted into the National Coaching Foundation Hall of Fame by the Princess Royal as one of its inaugural members along with Sir Bobby Charlton, the late athletics coach Ron Pickering and ice skating’s Betty Calloway. Helen wrote several books on swimming, and commentated on both the Seoul and Barcelona Olympics for ITV. It was in 1973 that she was appointed Lecturer at the Bedford College of Physical Education, rising to become finally Principal Lecturer in Physical Education at the University of Bedfordshire, a post which she still held at the time of her sudden death.

Helen always loved Shirehampton, returning to the village at least once a year, and enjoyed reading Shire every month, learning of the many changes and being particularly saddened at the closure of the Baths. It was Helen’s last wish that her ashes should be brought back to Shirehampton and be interred in the Garden of Remembrance at St Mary’s churchyard, and it is there that she now lies. David Elkington (thank you for donation – Ed)


Should have gone to Specsavers or deliberate mistake? Submitted by Clive Churchill.

Should have gone to Specsavers or deliberate mistake? Submitted by Clive Churchill.